We had 2 pellet stoves in our last house and I have just installed a pellet stove in the pottery for my wife. There is generally a lot of stuff going around on the internet about pellet stoves and normally written by people who do not have one and have never lived with one.
We purchased our first stove (Ecoflame 9kw) via a dealer in France and paid over 3,000 Euros, we purchased our second stove (Extraflame Dutchessa 12kw) from Fireland.it in Italy for 1,200 Euros and I purchased the current pellet stove (12kw) from Italy on e-bay for just 900 Euros.
The thing about pellet stove is that the fan does make a very small amount of noise but after just a couple of days we did not even realise the noise was there. The big bonus with a pellet stove is the automation, we used to set the stove to come on at 0530, get the room to 20 degs and then switch off at 2300 after we had gone to bed, no having to get up and make a fire in the mornings or having to stoke the fire up to ensure an overnight burn. You have total control over the room temperature which you do not with a wood burner, no storing wood in the house. We used to keep 1 ton of wood pellets in sack under the stairs in the lounge.
One setback is that, if there is a power failure, the pellet stove will simply go out, nice and safely (one friend of ours has a battery backup system to keep the stove running). When the power comes back on the pellet stove will resume and automatically light itself.
During spring when you suddenly get a cold snap you can just press a button and 5 minutes later the fire is running, then the sun comes out and you just press the off button, try doing that with a wood burner.
As for French companies providing pellet stoves, they are a total rip off and their prices are just ridiculous. If you look at the prices on the fireland site you will see just how over priced they are even when you take into account that they set it up (our took me 15 minutes from arrival to fully operational)... http://fireland.it/uk/products.php?numbcat=9
If the noise is to much for some people, you can always purchase a pellet stove which pushes the air around to different rooms using air ducts, then the stove can be located in a place where you cannot hear it, just like a boiler really.
Hope this helps, Mike L